Modern Languages - Winging it in Spanish

5th October 2012 at 01:00

What it's all about

When we made Martin Pescador, a short eco-film entirely in Spanish, the sun was shining, the poppies were in full bloom. School was out; we had closed our books. Our nine-year-olds were being Spanish children on a field studies trip in search of the elusive kingfisher. But the freelance director did not like my opening scene: it was too scripted. He wanted the camera to come across the children playing "naturally", writes Heather Martin.

It was the actors themselves who improvised the solution, launching energetically into Roca, Papel, Tijeras (Scissors, Paper, Stone), followed by Correquetepillo (Catch). It was a moment of epiphany. Not only were all those things learned in the classroom useful, but they had been thoroughly assimilated.

As the day rolled on, more improvisation was required. Charles had to leave two-thirds of the way through, forcing us to recast him as a drop- out. When the bird-spotters are interrupted by a posse of lager-fuelled louts, causing them to scatter like startled sparrows, he duly does a runner. Emerging timidly from hiding, the others assume civic responsibility for clearing up the mountain of litter left by the villains.

The six-minute film was for a competition run by the Spanish Embassy, and chimed harmoniously with the school's week of dedicated environmental activities. It was the ideal opportunity to put the theory of integrated learning into practice.

Last month it won the 2012 Spanish Embassy Film Competition, open to all Spanish-teaching institutions in the UK.

q What else?

Practise Spanish vocabulary with vandersar's interactive cops and robbers board game. bit.lycopsgame. Help pupils to write reviews of their favourite films in Spanish with QCDA_Resources, bit.lyspanishfilmreview.

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